Fitness & Wellness

Ways To Get Your Kids Off Sugar

Ways To Get Your Kids Off Sugar

Early studies showed fat was the culprit for high cholesterol and plaque buildup in arteries, but the real villain in this case is sugar. Sugar is responsible for so many health conditions, not to mention lots of fillings and dental work. If you find your child gets unruly after eating sweets, it’s another good reason to get your kids off sugar and find ways to make eating healthy a treat.

Getting your child to eat healthy may not be easy, but it’s worth it.

Check the labels on the food you serve. Often sugar is one of the top ingredients. That doesn’t mean you’re out of danger. Manufacturers got wise to that type of shopping and instead of using one type of sugar, they use several types of sweeteners so all of them are further down on the list and you don’t know just how much sugar there is in the food. What’s the best way to fight this and make sure you control the sugar? Make the food yourself. Some people make a menu and shopping list one night, shop the next and cook the week’s meals, plus a few extra to freeze for later, on the weekend. That way, you don’t have to spend the time shopping or worrying whether sugar is hidden.

What your child drinks is just as important as what he or she eats.

Are you giving your child soft drinks? If so, stop!!! It’s nothing more than sugary flavored bubble water that’s high in calories. Fruit drinks are just as bad, since most only contain a little juice and lots of extra sugar. Even real fruit juice is high in sugar and can cause a spike in blood sugar, since the pulp/fiber in the whole fruit actually slows it. What’s the best option? Plain water is good, but if you want to make it fancy, make it fruit infused water with fruit slices in it. Kids love it.

Snacks without added sugar don’t have to be difficult to create.

Who doesn’t love a slice or two of apple with some chunky natural peanut butter. A bag of homemade trail mix is also good. Get some small snack size bags and put individual servings of mixed nuts in the bag for another healthy snack. Whether it’s young kids or teens, a bowl of fruit that’s already cut up is just an invitation for snacking. Slice up a watermelon or cantaloupe and set out a bowl so it’s ready for snacking.

  • Joining your kids in giving up sugar is a great idea. Did you know that too much sugar speeds up the aging process? That can’t make any adult happy!
  • Your children will be healthier when you reduce the amount of added sugar in their diet. Sugar negatively affects the immune system and lead to more illness and infections.
  • Sugar negatively affects cognitive thinking. One study shows that when sugar was removed from children’s diets at one New York school, the academic ranking went up 15.7%.
  • Don’t worry if your child eats some cake and ice cream at a birthday party occasionally, just don’t have it as a constant part of their diet. We have loads of recipes to help cut back on sugar.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness

Get The Kids Involved

Get The Kids Involved

I love the fact that we have something for everyone at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness in Raleigh, NC, whether the person is six or sixty. You can get the kids involved, while also working out yourself and bringing an aging parent in for exercise that can help keep them more independent. Our online fitness program can make it even easier to keep the family fit. Fitness should be a family affair. That scheduled workout and healthy meals can prevent long hours spent at the doctor’s office, while creating a family bond that lasts for years.

Healthy meals can be created by everyone in the family.

Today, meals are often eaten on the run or in the car or food is brought home in cartons and consumed in front of a television or computer. You can change all that and still have plenty of time. Kids can learn how to eat healthier and even help you create healthy meals on the weekend that are warm up ready during the week when it’s lunch or dinner time.

Kids can help and it makes healthy eating more fun.

If you want kids to snack healthier, make sure there are nutritious snacks available. Even younger children can help make snacks for the day or week. Ants on a log, celery stuffed with peanut butter that’s topped with raisins, is the perfect example of a snack kids can help make. Even a five year old can put those “ants” onto the log and add to the healthy snack. Older kids can help with all the food preparation and even provide some great ideas for healthy and delicious meals.

Keeping active can mean family fun time.

Kids learn what they live. If you and your family spend free time being active. Taking family hikes, biking, roller blading and even shooting hoops together will not only create a firm foundation for an active lifestyle, it will help make family memories that last a lifetime. Even working out together can be fun. You’ll not only be helping your children, you’ll be helping yourself in the process, too.

  • It’s not easy to be a parent today. There are often a lot of demands on your time. Whether working out together or preparing healthy meal options, doing it with the children can make give you quality kid time and be a great teaching moment.
  • Whether your teen is an athlete or not, he or she will benefit from a program of exercise. It helps build the body, while boosting confidence.
  • Studies show that children who exercise regularly have improved cognitive skills and behavior that helps them both in and out of the classroom.
  • At Evolution Lifestyle Fitness, your whole family can get one free private personal training session or a full week of group training. Take advantage of the opportunity and experience it yourself.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness

Weight Training For Kids

Weight Training For Kids

If you’ve read reports that weight training for kids is dangerous, my response is yes and no. Let’s look at the instances that may have a potential to affect the health of a child. Some studies show that weight training before puberty might lead to injuries, affect growth, while not increasing muscle strength. That’s only true when done improperly. The right form and correct safety measures must be taken and the program should be monitored and carefully planned to be its safest and most beneficial.

There’s so many more benefits to adding weight training to a child’s exercise program.

The best way to start a child in weight training is to make sure that their goal isn’t just about lifting as heavy as they can, but use lighter weights and focus on repetitions. Many studies show that pressing iron can help kids as young as 7. It helps build strength and that can actually help reduce the potential of injury, while improving sports performance. The goal of weight lifting training before puberty is not to build muscle tissue but to build strength.

Kids need to learn to follow the rules and instructions before they start.

No matter what your age, lifting weights properly and avoiding injury involve learning the proper form. Kids need to expect to master the form before adding any weight. The number of repetitions are more important than the amount of weight lifted. Strength training should be part of a well balanced fitness program that includes flexibility and endurance training. It needs begin with a warm-up and followed by a cool down.

Strength training can provide a great deal of benefits for kids.

When strength training, which includes weight training, is done properly, it can boost strength and endurance. It strengthens bones, maintains healthier blood pressure and cholesterol levels and helps reduce the potential of weight problems. It helps kids in sports by protecting their joints and muscles from sports-related injuries. It also improves their performance in that sport or athletic outlet like dancing. It also helps the child learn the proper techniques for lifting. Consider that the next time you pull your back out from lifting wrong.

  • Strength training can help kids as young as seven. It’s important to have proper supervision from trained personnel teaching it. It’s always important to note that the primary emphasis should be on form, rather than on the amount of weight lifted.
  • Whether it’s an adult or a child taking strength training, doing it every day isn’t wise. Strength training sessions should be every other day or every third day if they’re strenuous.
  • Strength training can boost a child’s self-esteem and improve his or her overall confidence.
  • Evolution Lifestyle Fitness has trainers specifically trained to ensure that your child has the safest experience that maximizes the benefit to his or her overall health.

For more information, contact us today:

Is Your Student Athlete Getting Enough Sleep

Is Your Student Athlete Getting Enough Sleep

Our children in Raleigh, NC, aren’t getting enough sleep. It’s an epidemic that first hit the adult population and now has invaded the young. It’s especially important for the student athlete or physically active young person that wants to succeed in their sport and is often the key to a winning performance. When you sleep, part of the brain and body is extremely active and the jobs done during REM sleep makes a difference both mentally and physically.

A recent poll found that 87% of America’s teens are sleep deprived.

There’s a lot of reasons teens are sleep deprived. Sometimes, it’s just the schedule. As teens move through puberty, their circadian clock makes a shift and they get sleepier later. Since school starts just as early and they can’t get the sleep they need. Smart-phones and electronic devices play a role, too. Making your child put down his or her smart phone an hour before bed ensures they’ll get approximately 21 more minutes of sleep. The busy life schedule with sports, social commitments and even the internet can keep a teen awake. Too much light in the bedroom from TV, cell phones and computers reduce the amount of melatonin, the sleep chemical in the brain. Even the attitude toward sleep, where being active is valued higher than sleeping and some sleep disorders can add to a cycle where the lack of sleep causes the teen to be more active and less apt to fall asleep.

Both young children and teens suffer when they’re sleep deprived.

You can understand how children or teens might have a difficult time waking up in the morning when they’re sleep deprived and probably already know they’re prone to hyperactivity and a short attention span. There’s a noted lack of coordination and clumsiness, which isn’t good for the student athlete. If you notice your child has more frequent colds and infections or problems with memory, anxiety or depression he or she could be sleep deprived. Many of the same symptoms are true in teens, but add to that poor decision-making, risk-taking behavior and slower reflexes.

The performance of teen athletes also suffers.

Whether it’s trying to decide whether to run with the ball or pass or focusing on the direction of the tennis ball, lack of sleep can jeopardize the performance on and off the field of a student athlete. One study shows that it definitely affected the ability to make split-second decisions. Lack of sleep also can slow post-game recovery time by decreasing the production, contribute to low energy and production of glycogen and affect speed, accuracy and endurance.

  • Adequate sleep is just as important as working out and healthy eating for the student athlete.
  • Studies show that teens may need even more sleep than younger children, whose requirements average 9 hours and 15 minutes a night, even though maturity allows their body and mind to remain alert later into the night.
  • Sports greats Serena Williams and Lance Armstrong both focus on getting more sleep. Armstrong endorses it on his website and Williams notes she goes to bed at around 7 p.m.
  • At Evolution Lifestyle Fitness we can help get your student athlete ready for the peak performance.

For more information, contact us today:

Stop Childhood Obesity Before It Starts

Stop Childhood Obesity Before It Starts

There’s a surge in the percentage of children that are overweight, obese or extremely obese. It’s a phenomenon that’s world wide for both children and adults. It’s more prevalent in adults with half the adults being overweight, obese or extremely obese and one in every six child falling into those categories. While it is prevalent in America, it’s also high in Mexico, New Zealand and Hungry. Until recently, Japan and Korea were the countries with the lowest obesity rates, but as the Western food permeates the cultures, Obesity is rising in Japan due to a change to the Western diet. That tells you it’s primarily from the food eaten and a sedentary lifestyle. It’s easier to stop childhood obesity before it has a chance to start.

Start by focusing on eating habits.

It’s easy to understand why kids and adults gain weight. The American diet is horrible. Everywhere you look there’s an advertisement for sugary foods, burgers and fries. Fruit drinks are far removed from fruit juice and even juice isn’t as healthy as water and a piece of fruit. Even food that calls itself healthy, really isn’t. High fructose corn syrup may come from a natural source, but there’s nothing natural about it. The body doesn’t process it properly and it adds to the extra pounds in the population. Furthermore, it’s cheap, so manufacturers put it in everything. Eating healthy has become a lost art that’s hard to regain due to the changes in society.

Kids and adults are less active.

While I definitely wouldn’t want to go back to the days when children worked in the fields doing manual labor or we had no conveniences that made our work easier, America is just too sedentary. Our outlets aren’t physical, with many of them involving just the muscles of the fingers to type. Even work is far less active. This inactivity slows the metabolism and burns fewer calories daily.

The solution is easy to identify, but not nearly as easy to institute.

A healthier population needs to have a better diet and be more active. Both adult obesity and childhood obesity take their toll in type2 diabetes, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and increased risk of several types of cancer. It attacks the esteem of the obese person and creates social isolation. Switching to a diet of whole foods with limited processed foods and ensuring a program of daily activity or a protocol of fitness can reverse the problem. It’s not easy and it takes the efforts of the whole family.

You don’t have to have an obese child to understand how healthy eating and a program of fitness can help them grow up healthier and fitter with a longer life.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to become a huge fight. Making healthy switches to lower calories and increase nutrition can make the change barely noticeable. There’s a lot of healthy snacks your kids will love.

Too often children learn what they live. If you want your children to be more active, you should be more active, too. Plan fun family weekends of hiking, roller blading or bike riding. You’ll be making memories, having fun and improving everyone’s health.

If you’re not sure where to start, contact us at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness. We have programs to improve your fitness and ones to help you learn how to eat healthier. No matter what you or your child’s weight, there’s help for everyone to get fitter and healthier.

For more information, contact us today:


Is Your Kid A Hidden Athlete

Is Your Kid A Hidden Athlete

There are lots of different skills required for athletics. While your kid may seem to be the most nonathletic individual you’ve ever met, there may be a hidden athlete under that veneer. All children take time to mature and develop. While they may not be athletic right now, that doesn’t mean that they can’t develop strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. Those are all the traits necessary for an athlete.

How do you define an athlete?

While not all parents look to their child to be the natural athlete that could make a pro football team without much training, being an athlete is more than that. It’s developing the mind and the discipline to become good at an endeavor that requires physical prowess. Athleticism can be defined many ways. It might be the ability to catch a ball, outrun a tackle or sink a basketball. It can also be the ability to run great distances, lift heavy loads and ride a bike faster than another. Every child has the ability to participate and do their best in some athletic capacity.

It’s determination, desire and direction that makes an athlete.

Learning to set goals and being held accountable for achieving them is one of the biggest benefits of becoming an athlete, but also one of the pre-qualifications for continuous superior athletic performance. Athletes love what they’re doing, often because they were good at it. Boosting a child’s belief in their abilities, providing them with a program to develop fitness and making it fun can help any child be more athletic.

Exercise can improve strength, endurance, flexibility and balance, plus so much more.

With practice and active participation the neural pathways in the brain develop to improve the body in a number of ways. It improves hand-eye coordination and other motor skills, but it also boosts cognitive thinking, problem solving, focus and other essential mental functions. It boosts the size of the hippocampus, which is directly involved with memory and learning, while also aids in the development of new brain cells. Even if a child is never a pro athlete, he or she will benefit from a program of regular exercise.

  • A shy child can get a boost of self-confidence and self-esteem from participating in a program of regular exercise.
  • While it might not produce an Olympic athlete, a program of regular exercise can improve social relationships and teamwork.
  • No matter what a person’s age—regular exercise can help reduce anxiety and depression. It’s a great outlet for reducing stress, even for children.
  • Early training in physical fitness can lead to a lifelong goal of healthy living and put your child on a path of good health.

Is Yoga Good For Kids?

Is Yoga Good For Kids?

I have parents in Raleigh, NC, that are concerned for the health of their children, given so many more sedentary alternatives, like online games, are available. I understand their concern, which is why yoga, kids and all fitness training for children is an important part of our services. Kids learn what they live and there’s no better time to help them develop healthy lifestyle habits. Healthy eating and an active lifestyle is important, not only for a healthy childhood, but for continuing health throughout their lives.

Kids need an outlet that’s healthy and calming.

All exercise helps alleviate the effects of stress and today, even children face the stresses of everyday living. Childhood is far different than it was years ago and there’s more competition for grades, more distractions, more negative communication and even more bullying, although it’s not done with fists but through words. Finding an outlet that’s healthy that can relieve that stress is important. Exercise, particularly yoga, is one way to do that. It helps calm the mind, while building self-esteem and an improved body image.

Yoga and other types of physical activity have other benefits.

Flexibility, strength, co-ordination and endurance are built through activity. Yoga is based on concentration and a calming sense. It helps children learn focus and develop and inner strength that extends to dealing with the outside world. Yoga isn’t just saying “Ommm” and sitting contemplating self. It’s not easy. While it is mostly noted for the flexibility, it takes an amazing amount of strength, yet doesn’t require damaging physical contact as some sports do.

Yoga is fun.

Stretching like a dog or roaring like a lion is fun for younger children. For older children, the challenge of holding a position or even attaining a position is a challenge that is intriguing and keeps kids focused. No matter what type of exercise is used, keeping it fun and still challenging is one of the most important roles we face as coaches. It helps lead children down the road of lifetime fitness.

  • Yoga can be helpful to develop muscles and help avoid injuries in other sports. Some of our programs deal specifically with to correct imbalances and injuries to help prevent future injuries.
  • Yoga can be a perfect prelude to preparing for a sport. It helps build muscle strength in all areas that are necessary to maintain safety and boost performance.
  • Childhood obesity is rampant and growing. Yoga can help children be more aware of their body and the food they eat to nourish it. One study shows that yoga can encourage weight loss because it helps the participant be more body awareness.
  • Our program not only focuses on exercise, it helps them learn to set and achieve goals and the basics of healthy eating. It holds them accountable and teaches the important lesson of the benefits of commitment.

Exercising With Kids On Vacation

Exercising With Kids On Vacation

You can build memories and help develop a love of fitness by exercising with kids on vacation. Does that mean you’re actually going to do jumping jacks at the rim of the Grand Canyon or have everyone drop and give ten visiting the nations capital? Absolutely not. It means you plan an active vacation, even if it is a staycation. Find ways to include things that are active and help build endurance, strength, flexibility or balance.

There’s an opportunity to double the benefit of an active vacation, getting ready for it and the vacation itself.

Are you going to Disney World or other big amusement park. That takes energy to walk the whole day. If that’s one of your vacation plans, use it to help your kids get fitter. It takes a lot of walking to see the parks and enjoy each minute there. Being tired and cranky can spoil everything. Start nightly walks and extend them until they last an hour. Over the weekend, consider visiting local parks, conservation areas and walking trails to build their endurance. When you let the kids know what you’re doing, it not only builds enthusiasm, it makes them want to get into shape.

Pack up the bikes and enjoy some freewheeling at a national park.

Taking a biking vacation is a fun way to get exercise where biking isn’t risky. Bike paths in most parks, both local and national, don’t require the vigilance it takes when biking on local roadways. It can be fun and relaxed without the stress of worrying about oncoming cars. Pack healthy snacks and meals to eat along the way and it’s the perfect healthy vacation.

Hiking through wooded areas can be quite rigorous.

There are many areas for hiking. Some of those are for the novice and some for the advanced. Again, getting ready for the trip can be part of the experience. Get maps of hiking trails and revue them with the kids. Some will be more difficult or longer. Review the trails with the kids and if they choose a more difficult trail, it’s perfect for training to get ready for them.

  • Kayaking and rafting can be an active vacation that will exhaust everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fit or not, spending a day on the water fighting the current is exhausting, but so much fun.
  • Swimming and water sports can be both fun and active. Even though you might want to envision spending a day at the beach snoozing on a lawn chair, you know better. It’s a real energy drainer and an active sport.
  • If you’re vacation is really a staycation, find local conservation areas to walk, local museums and even some fun activities that are active, like rock climbing, roller skating and rock walls.
  • Raleigh has a wide variety of sports and activities that will help boost your kids health. The adventure, courses, the vast 180 miles of trails, sports complexes and many water activities can provide a vacation year around for those who can’t take a formal vacation.

Make Fitness Fun

Make Fitness Fun

While most parents focus on exercising and getting themselves into shape, getting fit should be a family experience. Even grandma and grandpa will enjoy eating healthy and working out when you make fitness fun. Too often people make getting fit more of a punishment for bad habits of the past. It shouldn’t be that way. Getting fit should be an adventure that leads down a road to looking and feeling great!

Start with healthy eating habits.

One of the things that really irritate me is to sit at a table in a restaurant with someone who is dieting. They make a big production of the things they can’t eat and then order a salad and a diet cola. They focus on the negative, instead of looking for healthier alternatives that are exceptionally good, including that salad. They often hide the flavor of the salad under a thick cover of dressing, too. Finally, even if they ordered a diet cola, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy or will make you look better. One study showed that people who drank diet colas gained inches in their waistline compared to those who drank no cola at all. Learn how to eat healthy and enjoy every meal. Make it a way of life.

Exercise should be enjoyable.

When was the last time you focused on how your body felt when you moved. Seriously, the next time your run or even walk, feel the freedom you have with each step. My grandmother used to tell me to appreciate each movement, because one day you might not be able to do it. That advice came after a debilitating stroke, so she knew what she was talking about. Exercise doesn’t always have to take place in a gym. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood or riding a bike.

Your kids will love the memories you make when you exercise with them.

Of course, that can mean you’re actually doing a workout routine, but in most cases, it means just doing active things together. Bicycles for the whole family doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can often find them at second hand stores, garage sales and pawn shops at a low price. Add in the cost of safety gear and you have family entertainment for years to come that’s healthy and fun.

  • Learn to savor healthy foods and make them an adventure in eating if you’re an adult. Make food fun or children. Consider food like spaghetti squash that will fascinate children and amaze adults.
  • Make everything a game, from climbing stairs to carrying groceries or cleaning the house. Dance your way through housework with the kids or race up the stairs to see who gets to the top the fastest. It keeps the family fit while being fun.
  • Don’t use video games or junk food as a reward. That puts it on too high of a pedestal and makes it more enticing. Find other rewards that fit the healthy lifestyle mode, like ten more minutes of play outside or letting them choose a menu for the next meal from several options.
  • Look for opportunities to help your kids get and stay in shape. A special trip to an amusement park will require a lot of walking. Have them prepare for the trip by walking every night together.

Lead By Example

Lead By Example

Whether you’re running a multi-million dollar company in Raleigh, NC, or running a household, you have to lead by example to be your most effective. It’s hard for a child to believe there’s any truth that eating healthy and exercising is good for you, especially when parents don’t do it. There’s a lot of examples where children follow the actions of their parents, rather than their words. Children learn what they live, not necessarily what they hear. To make sure your child or family is healthy, you have to make changes in your life toward a healthier lifestyle.

Start children off right with healthy meals.

What you serve at meals provide the options children have when they eat. While you might not be able to control what they eat when they’re not at home, you can control their eating habits there. Have nutritious meals ready for every meal. If you’re working outside the home and think that’s impossible, it’s not, as long as you plan ahead. One day is used to plan a week’s menu and create a shopping list. Plan to make double recipes, so there’s enough extra to freeze for meals another week. Do your shopping on the next day and cooking on the weekend or your day’s off work. After a few weeks, you’ll only have to make one or two dishes, the rest will already be frozen and ready.

Get active and take your family with you.

Take a walk after dinner, go to a park on the weekend or go hiking. Make sure you carve out a half hour to an hour a day to do something active with your family. Instead of buying the latest and greatest new iPhone, invest the money in bicycles for the whole family. They don’t have to be new. In fact, some pawn shops and second hand stores have great bikes at a reasonable price. Kids learn to be active by making memories with you.

Get the family involved in your workout.

Smaller children love this. They love working out with mom and dad, mimicking their every move. While teens might think it’s a bit hokey, they also might actually join you or secretly watch and do it in their room when you’re not watching. The fitter you get, the more weight you lose and the more muscles you build will act as incentives for your children and even your spouse.

  • Make sure you have healthy snacks that are ready to eat when your kids want to munch. Serving sizes of nuts, veggies, fruit and dip all qualify and normally are kid approved. Have water, not juice, Kool-Aid or soft drinks in the refrigerator in reusable bottles.
  • If you work with children, make sure to remember to get them up and moving once every fifty minutes. Teach the kids to watch the clock and let you know when fifty minutes is up so everyone can stretch. Studies show that sitting any longer is detrimental to health.
  • Put away computers, cell phones and electronic devices for meal time. Too much time on the computer is bad for young brains, according to recent studies. Meal time should be spent enjoying each other’s company and savoring the food.
  • Walk as much as you can. Don’t circle the store, hunting for the best parking spot. Use the stairs and walk, don’t drive, to the neighbor’s house.